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Games of the Decade: July 3, 2016

The Marlins “invaded” the Braves at Fort Bragg to put an exclamation point on Fourth of July weekend.

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Nothing compares with the rush of tuning in to live Marlins games. But as you are all aware, unfortunate circumstances have delayed the start of the 2020 regular season. Need help filling that void? Fish Stripes will be presenting full-length FOX Sports Florida broadcasts from the 2010-2019 Marlins seasons (the particular game in this article was an exclusive broadcast on ESPN).

The “Games of the Decade” series is a collaborative process between the Fish Stripes staff and audience. Please continue recommending games that deserve to be rewatched!

Marlins 5, Braves 2—July 3, 2016

Starting Lineups

Remember when the Marlins used to play on national television occasionally? It was a trade-off, watching a game without the fantastic chemistry between Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton. On the other hand, it gave you a sense of validation that the team was relevant.

In 2016, the Marlins/Braves Fourth of July weekend series finale was featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The Braves had the home-field advantage, but these were unique circumstances for everybody involved—the game took place at Fort Bragg Field, a newly created venue located inside the largest military base in the United States. In less than four months’ time, Major League Baseball constructed the field from scratch, reserving tickets specifically for Fort Bragg residents (predominantly servicemen and servicewomen and their families).

Much more so than the rebuilding Braves, the 42-39 Marlins had a lot at stake. Miami’s front office had already declared themselves midseason buyers, trading young pitching prospect Chris Paddack to acquire NL All-Star reliever Fernando Rodney earlier in the week. After a half-season floating around the .500 mark, it was time to finally string together some wins.

Uneasy moment in the bottom of the first inning. Nick Markakis launches a high fly ball to right-center. Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton both have time to get underneath it, but they are indecisive. Ozuna reaches for it at the last possible moment, the ball rolls up his forearm, and he’s able to control it for the out.

At least one run (and potentially two) would have scored if the ball touched the ground.

Left-hander Adam Conley found himself in a few other RISP jams during this start, but wiggled out of them each time. He matched zeroes with Matt Wisler through four innings.

The deep Marlins lineup came to life in the fifth. J.T. Realmuto, Martín Prado and Christian Yelich finished the contest with three hits apiece, combining to drive in four runs. It’s one of only three times in Realmuto’s career that he’s had a home run and stolen base in the same game.

It was an adventurous ninth inning for AJ Ramos, but he made the 5-0 cushion hold up.

Full ESPN game broadcast (with Dan Schulman, Aaron Boone, Jessica Mendoza and Buster Onley)

TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch)

Win Probability Chart
  • I’d say this was the peak of Conley’s career. Did you know he had eight scoreless starts in 2016? Dontrelle Willis (2005) is the only pitcher in Marlins history with more in a single year. In his three-and-a-half seasons since the Fort Bragg game, the lanky lefty has struggled with the long ball and tried to adapt to a bullpen role.
  • The the second inning? Really?! Granted, this was the first-ever MLB regular season game to be played anywhere in the state of North Carolina, but act like you’ve been there before!
  • In the top of the fourth inning, insider Buster Olney named several potential trade targets for the Marlins to sure up their rotation. They included Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and CC Sabathia. Moore would wind up with the Giants and the others stayed put; the Fish acquired Andrew Cashner instead.
  • Tip of the cap to Lance Corporal Cameron Yelich.

The “Games of the Decade” series is also available as a YouTube playlist (games listed there in chronological order)